Jammu, March 22: Driving is one of the most common and widely accepted features of daily life in modern societies. Automobiles, whose emergence implied the promise of guaranteeing both freedom and equality, if examined closely, however, appears that the ethical implications of driving maybe unpleasant.
Driving is now virtually imperceptible as a social fact worthy of an analysis. The condition of the city roads and traffic reflects the image of the competence of the state administration and the forbearance of people. The demeanour of a town is ascribed to its civil infrastructure and traffic.
But, in our city of Jammu, the state of the roads and the vehicles paint a grim picture of our etiquettes.
The number of vehicles in Jammu has grown profusely with thousands of vehicles added each year. (see graph) But, the infrastructure has not been upgraded to accommodate these vehicles to enable smooth mobility. Consequently, the city witnesses unprecedented traffic jams at various places these days. Especially, in morning hours around 10 am, which is the general time to show up in offices, people rush ruthlessly, a situation that can be improved if they’d leave for their destination at appropriate time.
Matadors, nearly the only medium of public transport in Jammu continue to be a nuisance. Their intermittent movement, pausing arbitrarily, completely jams the traffic. The wide area that matadors occupy, on the roads that desperately need broadening- overtaking them becomes a matter of risk. And often, the urgency to grab sawarees (passengers) leads to an immediate ‘sprint’ – competition of matadors which is highly risky for the automobiles in their vicinity. Moreover, these ‘diesel-run’ matadors pollute the air immensely and their strident honking adds to the noise pollution. Hopefully, these matadors (mini buses) of Jammu don’t take the avatar of the infamous ‘Blueline buses’ of Delhi.
Traffic rules violations are common in Jammu, because there’s no traffic rules ‘awareness’ itself. It is essential to understand that petty elements such as indicators, horn, traffic signs, traffic lights together, in fact form a ‘means of communication’ between entities that comprise cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes, pedestrians etc. Ignorance of it causes disruption in mobility, bringing two distinct entities in their “personal space” of each other to their predicament. And carelessness can lead to disastrous accidents, which is among the leading causes of deaths in our city. To allow the other vehicle to make its rightful turn first, to slow down vehicle to let someone cross, to avoid honking in a brief moment of pause in the traffic are small gestures that leave a greater impact on individuals around. These personal reforms will do much to ameliorate our living standards.